Jacq's Opinion Editorials (#1: Traveling with a DAP + IEM?)

Discussion in 'General Audio Gear Discussion' started by jacq, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    Hello guys, been a long time lurker but I haven’t really posted much in the forums and I’ve decided to change that with my reflections during my trip to Asia. About me, I’m not very technical as most of you folks though I enjoy the hobby as much as anyone here. As my gear is constantly changing, I’d like to link you guys to my headfi account instead in where I keep my current gear inventory updated.

    As for what I intend to post, I’d like to just treat this thread as an opinion thread about headphone stuff I see, along with the pictures you may often see Instagram and other sites. I guess the reason for the change is that I’m kind of tired of the lack of quality Reddit offers and with the mods telling me my posts are just for “moneyshots” to reap karma. Being kind of insulted with this, I decided to just move my content elsewhere though I’m not that disciplined to keep a personal blog. I am hoping that the SBAF community would be accepting for what kind of content I want to share online. Please let me know if you have any questions. Hoping to update this twice a month or at the very least, once a month.

    Here are examples of my headphone shots. Along with some here on my IG.

    Index:
    #1: Traveling with a DAP + IEM? How ideal is it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017

  2. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    #1: Traveling with a DAP + IEM? How ideal is it?

    [​IMG]
    DP-X1 + UERM along with its case, my daypack and carryon.

    I’m insanely jetlagged right now and I decided to take up on writing about my 30-hour flight from Asia to Florida. This journey was done with multiple layovers, and I definitely had to sit to listen music during the times those times. I suppose I’ll start with my own personal rules when it comes to choosing a portable setup:

    · UI – subjective but this is of absolute importance to me as I tend to enjoy choosing different playlists or albums when I listen.
    · Battery life – pretty self-explanatory but the more battery the better when you’re out and about
    · Storage – also subjective but being able to bring however much music is pretty great to me. I love dual microSD or DAPs that offer over 128gb.
    · Sound quality – for me, there’s really just a baseline to establish and I enjoy a detailed, neutral DAP that would be a reliable reference if I were to demo something when I travel.
    · External outputs – having digital out like USB, optical/toslink, Coax is very nice when you go to meets or testing equipment on the go.
    · Streaming – I stream so this is a must for me though it’s a non-issue for some people.
    · External controls/ergonomic design – I like having something easy to use when I’m in public transportation or walking, playback controls are definitely a godsend.

    The DAP that fit this bill has been the DP-X1 to me, so far. I had an Apple iPod Video back in high school and I’ve owned others ever since then, like the DX50, FiiO X5c, AK100ii, AK240. Soundquality wise, I think the RWAK240 is still better sounding than the DP-X1 but the price difference was just way too big that I couldn’t really justify the 240. Instead, I took the money and put it towards the Yggdrasil and I’m happier than before. The DP-X1 definitely needs work in the battery life area along with sound quality but given the fact that you get a lot of features, it’s hard not to be compelled to buy it.

    In regards to AK, I know they’re hated around this parts and with good reason. Poor customer support, rapid product release turnover, lack of -almost- essential features like streaming, some build flaws that cause certain issues to suffice even faster, and worse of all, it is tied with a hefty pricetag. It’s definitely a fashion-fi piece with its cases made from reputable tanneries, along with the luxurious product launches they do so I can definitely say it’s not for everyone. I continue to be interested in what they release in the market in hopes that other companies will take the features they have to integrate it to more affordable models.

    [​IMG]
    RWAK240 + SE846 with some badass looking cheapo cables.

    Now, despite all the idealized concepts about owning and bringing a DAP to travel, the biggest issue still remains, it’s still bulky. It’s a separate device from your phone, and if you’re anything like me when I travel I mostly bring my phone, camera, powerbank, wallet, IEM, and DAP. I’ve asked myself multiple times about this, how do I optimize what I carry onto the plane and my own daypack to be able to not feel weighed down with the stuff I’m carrying? I’ve tried several things just to streamline the storage process and I think the most simplified way is to carry it with just the DAP + iem case that’ll fit in one of your bag compartments. Having a pelican case may be nice and I have owned one along with other cases but having the DAP inside a pouch will just add unnecessary bulk if you’re carrying a small sling bag of sorts.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Decisions decisions... Eventually went with the black pouch with carabiner which would hang nicely on the airplane bin where they keep the magazines with less weight than the pelicases.

    Perhaps the argument of stacking can suffice as well. With all the portable DAC/amp choices out there, there’s a massive realm of possibility if going this route. Owning an iPhone may complicate things further as some DAC devices refuse to play nice with Apple and others may drain the battery faster. This can also mean adding unnecessary bulk onto the case with rubber bands or Velcro. I’ve owned a few DAC/amps to go with my phone or my DAP itself to give it an extra sound quality boost but I found that most times, I'm not too willing to carry it. It also makes me feel angry that it’s often not pocketable with an excess of wires sticking out due to interconnects. I do keep an RSA Intruder on standby as a transportable setup with the HD800 if I really have to bring the HD800 to have someone try. Otherwise, it’s DAP + IEM for me.

    [​IMG]
    Got too lazy to find an actual pic but this is what my transportable rig looks like, DPX1 + Intruder + HD800. It's connected through restickable tape by Scotch.

    Anyway, now that I’ve gone through this long winded tangent, I will tie it all together to say that I have traveled with my UERM + DP-X1 for around 50 hours total, excluding all the layovers. and I’d like to give my data upon walking around and traveling with it. Of course, take with a grain of salt… It’s pretty subjective.

    · Having the DP-X1 out, especially when I was commuting was not fun. Overall, it was a bit too bulky. I wore a coat when I traveled and I had the DP-X1 in one pocket, my phone in another along with my wallet. Perhaps if I had a breastpocket, it would fit quite nicely.
    · My UERM is 2.5mm TRRS terminated so I had to use a 2.5mm – 3.5mm adapter along with a 3.5mm – lightning connector to use with my iPhone 7. It doesn’t sound very good with piercing treble and it sounding very thin so I hope more and more companies release alternatives to the lightning to 3.5mm connector.
    · The DP-X1 was great to use when I was able to sit and listen without any interruptions so it was mostly used during boarding gate queues, sitting out somewhere, or flights itself.
    · After owning the UERM, CIEMs are definitely a plus for me in terms of comfort. I don’t think I’ll be going back to universals unless I could get a custom sleeve.
    · In terms of sound quality, the UERM could use a companion IEM that’s fun and engaging that would fit my preferences. The good thing about IEMs is that they’re so small that you don’t really notice them so I can see myself bringing a second pair without any issues.

    Overall, I think owning a DAP is worth it if you’re okay with it being an extra bulky thing to bring. I think this can be a non-issue to those who commute to work or school on a daily basis though I don’t think it’s completely ideal for traveling where you have to be somewhat aware of your surroundings. Despite of its shortcomings, I’m probably still going to keep the DAP + iems setup to bring with me in my upcoming travels.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
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